God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who is Jesus?

The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 40

     Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
      He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’  Mark 8:27-9:1
       After the disciples asked, "Who is this that even he wind and sea obey him?" The answer the disciples experience comes in all the encounters that Jesus has after the question is asked. Jesus is the one who heals disease; free people from evil; raises young girls to life, makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the mute to speak. Jesus is the one who challenges tradition that are not life giving and teaches about God's kingdom. Jesus is the one who looks on the hungry with compassion and feeds them. Jesus is the one who comes to spread God's kingdom to insiders and outsiders, to challenge the religious and forgive the broken, to make the last first.
       When Jesus asks, "who do they say I am?" The twelve answer him - John the Baptist, Elijah,a prophet. He then pushes them, "who do you say I am?" Peter answers, "You are the Christ." Jesus than began to teach them what it means to be the Christ, the suffering messiah. He tells the twelve how we will be rejected by the elders, scribes, and chief priest. The suffering messiah will be killled and rise again.
       Peter is not happy with this description of the Christ. Peter wanted a messiah, a Christ who would come in glory and power. The description Jesus gives is not glorious or powerful. So Peter rebukes Jesus and Jesus turns to Peter and says, "Get behind me Satan." For you aren't on the side of God. Peter had it wrong. The messiah is one who suffers.  
       Jesus than speaks to the multitudes of what it means to follow. If you are to follow me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow. To save your life you must lose it and whoever loses their life for the gospel will be saved. Jesus calls us to self -denial and cross-bearing. Jesus promises to us as the suffering messiah that he will suffer for God's sake. He will share in your suffering. He will walk with you when you suffer.He will walk with you through your trials. He will be with you when you die and bring you to new life.   

Prayer Practice:
Spend a moment answering the question: Who is Jesus? After answering this question ask Jesus to show you who he is and how you can follow him.

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